What have the Germans ever given us

De La Warr  Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, a German architect's contribution to Britain

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, a German architect’s contribution to Britain

The Germans have never had a particularly good press in Britain. They are traditionally presented as the ravaging Hun after we fought two world wars against them in the last century.They can be  stereotyped as brutal, beer swilling technocrats with no sense of humour and always obeying orders.

And no one has forgotten the 1966 World Cup – when England beat Germany 4-2 – though many might be happy to forget the 2010 World Cup when Germany beat England 4-1.

Yet there is another side to all this. The German contribution to Great Britain – what contribution you might ask?

There is an eye-opening exhibition organised by the Migration Museum Project at the German Historical Institute in Bloomsbury Square, London, that tells a different story. You have probably not heard of either, so if you are a passionate supporter of UKIP look away now because this is no story of EU benefit  scroungers rushing to Britain to take our jobs and squander taxpayers’ money.

Rather it is a tale of how German immigrants to Britain have created jobs,iconic buildings, boosted trade between the two countries and made us laugh and cry and fought for women’s rights. I have to declare an interest as you would guess from my name – Hencke – I am from part German descent and my great grandfather came to Britain around 1863 and I am afraid, UKIP supporters,subsequent generations  have stayed here ever since.

Indeed this exhibition reveals that in Britain’s first census in 1861 German immigrants were the largest group of immigrants , amounting to 28,644 people, just 0.09 per cent of the population. By 2011 there were 273,654 German born Brits, amounting to 0.43 per cent of the population.

The most fascinating part of the exhibition is the less familiar contributions from German immigrants. Two German chemists built London’s first gas works, the iconic and now listed De la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea was designed by a German architect, and one of the leading suffragettes, Kitty Marion (Katerina Shafer) was a German immigrant.

And there are many German academics, traders dating back to the Hanseatic League in 1300, and the big wave of Jewish immigration in the 1930s after the persecution by the Nazis.

Less well-known is that there is also a German speaking Somali and Vietnamese population in the UK, people who came as asylum seekers to Germany and have moved to Britain.

And yes there are stand up German comedians in Britain – you can watch one, Henning Wehn, on  a video – and he is funny!

All this is a real antidote to the anti-immigration frenzy sweeping the country, showing the benefits to Britain rather than harping on the horrors of immigration ruining our society.

The exhibition is on in London until October 24, times are on the German Historical Institute website (link above) and admission is free. The exhibition  will move to Manchester and Belfast later.







” Oh my God” – Gove’s reaction to the prolific paedophile Salesian priest

Michael Gove: shock and awe at revelation at school he declined inquiry

Michael Gove: shock and awe at revelation at school he declined inquiry

Graham Wilmer’s new book The Devil’s Advocate reveals an amazing tussle he had with the Department for Education over trying to get them to consider an inquiry into the running of the Salesian schools as the Met Police Operation Torva was uncovering growing evidence of pedophilia in their order.

A report on the Exaro website reveals the full details of a row between the ministry and Graham Wilmer, who is now a member of Theresa May’s independent panel into national child sexual abuse.

Wilmer says that he “had written several times” to Gove to investigate the Salesian order, which runs several schools in the UK. Wilmer is director of the Lantern Project, a charity that supports CSA victims.

Wilmer writes, “He [Gove] did not respond initially, but one of his officials did, telling me that, while she was ‘saddened to hear what had happened to me’, they were not going to investigate because ‘it was too long ago.’

Eventually he got a letter from Edward Timpson, the children’s minister saying:

“Departmental officials have written to Mr Wilmer a number of times to explain that the secretary of state’s powers in this area are extremely limited.

“The investigation of allegations of abuse is a matter for the local police force, and it is not within the secretary of state’s powers to run a parallel investigation.

“I think that it would also, legal issues aside, be counter-productive and unhelpful. We need to see the outcome of any police investigation before concluding that the department can or should take action.”

Well as my previous blog discloses we now have a finding from the police exposing Father Terence O’Brien, being a prolific paedophile over many years.

So taking the opportunity of being at the Conservative conference I bumped into Michael Gove in a hotel corridor. I put it to him that the police investigation was now completed and they had discovered a prolific paedophile at the Salesian college in Battersea who died in the year 2000

Gove’s reaction was ” Oh my God” but before I could question him further he was hustled away by his minders who informed me he was already late for a meeting.

I have a feeling that this will not be the end of the story. the ministry claims it has few powers to investigate schools and was obviously not keen to do so.

This sounds very much like a matter that will have to be taken up by the inquiry.

Exposed: The sick priest who posed as a psychotherapist to abuse children

Psychotherapists are key people to help disturbed people and child sex abuse victims. There is probably no viler misuse of the profession than to masquerade as one to sexually abuse children.

Yet this is what Father Terence O’Brien did again and again at one of the country’s top Roman Catholic Salesian schools in Battersea, south London according to a  Met police investigation report obtained by Exaro.

The details are available in a new book The Devil’s Advocate: Child Abuse and the Men in Black by Graham Wilmer, a sex abuse victim, who runs the Lantern Project in the Wirral to help survivors and is now a member of the new national inquiry into child sexual abuse set up by Theresa May, the home secretary. You can buy his book here and all the profits go to fund his project.

He describes O’Brien as the Salesian order equivalent  to Jimmy Savile- a prolific paedophile- who died in 2000 but got away with it for years. You read the full story on the Exaro website.

But to give  you an idea of just how vile he is – here is an extract from the police report ( look away now if you are of a sensitive disposition) :

“Fr. O’Brien was a prolific paedophile, who would subject children to strip naked and be massaged, masturbated and physically penetrated, under the pretext that they were being rid of bad spirits that made them behave badly. The children were brought to Fr O’Brien by their parents in the belief that he was a child psychotherapist, and could treat them for their behaviour.

“This abuse was practised on children on a weekly basis, sometimes for years. The victims were instructed never to inform anyone of their treatment, or it would not work.

“Fr O’Brien was not a psychotherapist at all, yet he was allowed to practice his trade upon the grounds of the Salesian school without question, on a regular basis.”

Now you might have thought the Salesian order which runs this reputable school would want to make amends for such damning police findings. But this is their response:

Fr O’Brien did not at any time work from or in the Salesian College in Battersea . He did occupy Salesian property in Battersea but this was not on the school site nor was it part of the school. At no time did he conduct any of his practice from any Salesian school.

 “Fr O’Brien is a subject of Operation Torva, the inquiry being carried out by the Metropolitan Police. We are cooperating fully with the police in their inquiry and unable to comment further beyond saying that there were no allegations concerning Fr O’Brien until the late 1980s and 1990s and allegations were dealt with by the police.

  “In accordance with the Safeguarding policy of the Catholic Church, we do not investigate any allegation of offences against Children. These are passed to the Police.

 The Salesians will, of course, cooperate fully with the forthcoming government inquiry if they are required to do so.”

After further checks I am told the house actually adjoined the school. So the main concern of the Salesians is that Father O’Brien employed as a priest and teacher by the Salesians used a house next door to the school to carry out these vile acts on pupils and children ( both boys and girls) . So it is all right as  it didn’t happen technically  to be on school premises. And they won’t co-operate with the inquiry unless required.

If ever there was a need for this new national inquiry – this is it. Their attitude to this is both sickening and perverse.


The two faces of equality chair Baroness Onora O’Neill on sex segregation: One for UK, one for UAE

Baroness Onora O'Neill: Pic credit: Flickr

Baroness Onora O’Neill:
Pic credit: Flickr

This month the Equality and Human Rights Commission weighed into the controversy over the treatment of women by radical Muslims.

It issued strict guidelines forbidding the segregation of men and women at universities, colleges and student unions except for acts of religious worship following controversial suggestions that this had been happening in the UK  at university meetings. As to be expected the ECHR was on the side of  the equal treatment of women at all times.

Not highlighted was the position of Baroness Onora O’Neill, the three day a week chairman of the ECHR appointed by former culture secretary, Maria Miller, to replace Trevor Phillips. It is highlighted in an article by me in Tribune magazine this week.

Baroness O’Neill,a 71 year old philosophy don, whose academic  career is mainly based in an all women’s college in New York and as a former principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, was of course thoroughly in favour of that move in the UK.

What is not so widely known is that the Baroness is also a trustee of a university in the Middle East in Sharjah,in the United Arab Emirates. Indeed the ECHR website omits the appointment – along the lines that she has so many  that it was not worth mentioning.

But in this context it is more than a little relevant. Sharjah, the most conservative of the Emirates, has strict laws about the role of women in society. Its 2001 decency laws have very strict views about the relations between men and women.

It says: “A man and a woman who are not in a legally acceptable relationship should not be alone in public places, or in suspicious times or circumstances.”

Now Baroness O’Neill is a trustee of the American University of Sharjah which as she points out educates men and women and  does not have the same segregation as the next door University of Sharjah which has separate men and women’s campuses.

However a reading of the American University’s Code of Conduct makes it crystal clear how students have to behave. It is subject to Sharjah’s law, which includes a strict ban on alcohol and no unsupervised visits to the student halls of residents where 2000 students stay.

There is a  night curfew in operation – all students have to be in their rooms by midnight ( I.0 am is allowed at weekends) and even male and female friends are banned form being alone together in the halls of residence.

I quote from the rules::

• Visitors are allowed for limited hours and are only allowed to meet the residing students in the TV lounge and the computer labs; exceptions to this rule are mentioned below
• Mothers and sisters can visit the AUS women’s dormitories only and for a limited time.
This is subject to the approval of the dorm supervisor. Other family members can meet
the women students in the Women Welcome Center building
• Fathers and brothers can only visit the AUS men’s dormitories for limited time and this is
subject to the approval of dorm supervisor.”
The rules on dress are also restricted:

I quote: “Inappropriate dress for both males and females is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, tank tops, clothing that is very tight or transparent and indecently exposes the waist or back or shoulders or cleavage, and short clothing above the knee or very short pants. Moreover, clothing must not display obscene or offensive pictures and slogans.”

I can’t imagine any of this being imposed on British university students. I was interested to find out how the noble Baroness squared her two roles in  two different cultures. Did she secretly disagree with Sharjah’s strict ban on alcohol  and strict control of the sexes? Or would she like to impose similar restrictions on British students( she might be a teetotaller!) and not believe in sex before marriage.?

But she was being very silent. All she would say that the university was co-educational  and she was not paid to be a trustee by the Arabs.. But it was not her financial gains that really interested me, it was her hypocrisy of  legislating for rules in one country ( the UK) while backing a regime in the Middle East that did the very opposite.



Class War 2014: The Rich Kids of Snapchat

Bullingdon : The earlier generation before Rich Kids on Snapshot

Bullingdon : The earlier generation before Rich Kids of Snapshot

If ever David Cameron’s claim that we are all in it together needed to be proved false, look at a site on Facebook called the Rich Kids of Snapchat.

Set up by a 17 year old British public schoolboy and liked by 244,000 people this site celebrates the life style of the super rich public schoolboys – the new generation expecting to run Britain in a decade or so.

Far from having any concern for the rest of us, this ” fun ” site worships money, fast cars, Gucci, luxury yachts and private jets,champagne and has an unhealthy interest in guns.

It is virtually the calling card of the new ” Bullingdon Club ” and the kids know they are the new ” boss class ” – the future generation of Tory Cabinet ministers, entrepreneurs and flashy businessmen and bankers. And some will have the vote in next year’s election,

Among the fun pictures are kids using £50 notes as toilet paper, £20 notes for tablecloths, handling guns to protect their estates from the ” peasants”, and commuting from home to public school by private helicopters or showing they have a £10m private bank account at Coutts.

Not surprisingly this has produced a reaction across the net with people calling for the site to be taken down, and a spate of hostile comments – sometimes producing ripostes like warning people to shut up as they will be their boss in future life.

More seriously as the Inforrm blog reveals  these antics have posed problems for the more mature seriously rich parents who wish to hide their opulent life styles from the rest of us and pretend “we are all in it together”.

As the Inforrm blog says : ” The consequences could be very serious for those wealthy teens, and their families, where potentially inflammatory images appear which include identifying information such as faces, car registrations and locations.

One 19 year old, who frequently posted about his lavish lifestyle and who was featured on Tumblr site “Rich Kids on Instagram”, has already run into trouble, having had several luxury cars from his father’s rental business subsequently set alight by vandals, causing over £500,000 worth of damage to his father’s business.

Another featured ‘rich kid’ was Alexa Dell, daughter of Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell, who posted an image of her brother tucking into a feast onboard a private jet, bound for Fiji. She also used her Twitter account to regularly post details of her location, complete with GPS location tagging- somewhat undermining the annual US$2.7 million her father reportedly spends on family security.  Upon discovering this, Alexa’s account was removed and her image has been taken down.”

The blog rightly points out that in an era of unemployment and  poverty where ceo’s have made people redundant  this  can be inflammatory.

It rightly adds:” a teen bragging about the lavish lifestyle of his or her CEO parent who has recently made redundancies or been the recipient of a sizeable bonus can easily catch the eye of a journalist on the hunt for a story – as can any images posted by a naive child who has a parent in the public eye. ”

But to me the whole site seems symptomatic of a yawning divide opening up in the UK and the last thing I would want to see is it taken down. Such antics provide the perfect foil to attack the wealthy Lynton Crosby and the image he wants the Tories to present to the electorate of the ruling class in the next election. Spoilt brats revealing themselves for what they really are!

Meanwhile in true entrepreneurial fashion the site is up for sale by its 17 year old owner. He has been offered $150,000 by an American but might let it go for a mere $40,000 to a Brit with spare cash from his pocket money.












Why authorities named by Gove must investigate thoroughly the Savile sex abuse allegations

Commend him for announcing the Savile investigation

Commend him for announcing the Savile investigation

This week Michael Gove, the education secretary, took the bold step of announcing to Parliament investigations into historic child sex abuse by Jimmy Savile at local authority, Roman Catholic and charity children’s homes and schools.

 His decision is to be commended and the full Parliamentary statement can be seen here. It names council homes in Bournemouth, Devon, Gloucestershire, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham.Nottinghamshire, Surrey and the London boroughs of Hounslow, Islington, Southwark and Tower Hamlets. It also names Barnados in Redbridge; the Henshaw school for the Blind in Leeds and the Notre Dame Grammar School in Leeds and Sevenoaks School in  Kent.

The Savile scandal has been one of the worst  child abuse scandals to come out affecting not only schools but the BBC and even Broadmoor Hospital. It also extended outside England to Jersey.

I hope that all the authorities do a thorough review and uncover every fact possible – even though it dates back to the 1960s,70s and 80s. It will also mean tracing the children who had been there. I hope also the authorities know that if they do approach people they must be given proper and adequate support – something that has been noticeably lacking in current historic paedophile inquiries I have been covering.

 Nothing must be hidden. It is scandal in the unrelated historic paedophile inquiry in the London borough of Richmond ( which did not involve Savile) that it has taken over 40 years for anybody to be brought to court to answer such crimes. It should also look at whether Savile had any accomplices that allowed such things to happen.  The time for cover up is over.

Clifford Hindley :The damning verdict on the pederast scholarship of a Home Office civil servant

Clifford Hindley: Home Office civil servant with an academic obsession with boy love. Pic courtesy: Daily Mail

Clifford Hindley: Home Office civil servant with an academic obsession with boy love. Pic courtesy: Daily Mail

I am putting up on this blog a link to an extraordinary analysis by Ian Pace, a music lecturer from City University on the academic work of the late Clifford Hindley, the man exposed by Exaro News and the Sunday People this weekend. Currently under investigation by Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary,for possibly authorising taxpayers’ money to support the Paedophile Information Exchange, his findings are damning.

 He concludes: “This far from exhaustive account of Hindley’s writings in retirement should leave no doubt as to what a central role pederasty played in much of his thought. Beneath a scholarly and deeply learned exterior, steeped in antiquity, lies an obsessiveness and distorted morality which is not so different to that to be found in the more obviously explicit writings to be found in Magpie and other paedophile publications.

“I do not believe we should censor Hindley’s work, by any means, nor that it is without worth. But if the allegations about his having facilitated government financial support for one of the most insidious of all paedophile organisations – members of which have been linked to child pornography and abuse rings and international networks, ritual exploitation of those in children’s homes, and a whole host of cases of sexual predation upon very young boys in other institutions – are proved correct, as looks likely, then Hindley’s scholarly legacy should be afforded a good deal more critical treatment than has hitherto been the case.

“And above all, in no sense should Hindley’s work be seen as representative of wider gay-focused studies and scholarship. There is no more intrinsic link between same-sex desire and paedophilia as there is for opposite-sex desire; both remain minority inclinations belonging to those in desperate need of help before they do untold damage. It is to Hindley’s discredit that he attempted to dissolve such distinctions, and legitimise paedophilia as the most natural representation of same-sex desire, in exactly the manner in which paedophile groups appropriated the language and rhetoric of gay rights to suit their own twisted ends.”

His blog is long and scholarly and also discloses that prior to joining the Home Office he was in India and after leaving he contributed to a legal review to lower the age of consent to 16.

For those who want to find out how a very intelligent and scholarly man educated at the best universities in the country used his academic abilities to twist and justify his obsessive interest in young boys this is a must read.